As countless front-line workers around the U.S. and the world continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of employees at Jersey City Medical Center received an emotional boost through an artistic gift from one of their colleagues.
Andrew Andres, a cardiac surgical tech at that hospital, designed an illustration of a medical professional lifting the entire planet to symbolize the unprecedented workload that health professionals are facing.
Andres reached out to Mixtiles, a company that turns pictures into photo tiles that stick and re-stick to walls, to suggest presenting each of his coworkers with a framed version of his artwork.
The result? 300 coworkers received Andres’s art through a Mixtiles donation.
“The artwork is a token of endless gratitude from one health care provider to another,” Andres said. “It is an honor to work alongside some of the most selfless and caring individuals, and I hope this art lends some solace in whatever form that may be. It could have only taken the strongest of character and unwavering dedication to persevere through the adversity we endured. We all have gone through things we have never experienced and emotions we have never felt. Our limits were tested, and we rose to the occasion. In the future, we will look back and be proud of the role we played in nursing the world back to health.”
Health workers unable to return home
Hundreds of healthcare workers at Jersey City Medical Center have been on the front line of treating COVID-19 patients.
According to the city’s data, the hospital hit a peak on April 12 when it had 249 patients, 208 of whom had COVID-19. As of May 31, the hospital had 100 patients and half were COVID-19 positive.
According to a press release, many of the JCMC employees had been unable to return home because they didn’t want to get their families sick, had traveled from out-of-state to help, or simply didn’t have enough time to commute between shifts.
“For months we would take care of patients suffering severely from COVID-19 with no loved ones by their side, only nurses and staff,” Andres said. “Family members would call into the hospital to check on their loved ones since they were not permitted to visit. Hospital employees were tirelessly in their units for extended hours, taking on the heaviest workload they’ve ever had. An hour would not pass without the hospital intercom calling for the code team to respond to a patient that was rapidly decompensating, constantly reminding everyone [of] the situation we were in.”
“This piece was inspired to express that heaviness,” Andres added. “Not necessarily to lighten the load, but to act as a reminder of a time where our strength was tested, where collectively we endured.”
This Mixtiles donation to Jersey City Medical Center marks the latest effort by the Tel Aviv-based company to provide comfort for individuals in hospital settings who are affected by the pandemic.
With access to thousands of donated photo tiles as part of an art therapy initiative launched by Mixtiles, hospitalized children can surround themselves with images of their loved ones, whom they cannot see in person due to the pandemic which has caused stay-at-home orders and visitation restrictions at children’s hospitals nationwide.
Medical facilities that have introduced these Mixtiles-sponsored art therapy programs include UC Davis Children’s Hospital in Sacramento, The Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, and Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC.
“Amid their unprecedented contributions and sacrifices, we must not take front-line health care workers for granted,” said Co-Founder of Mixtiles Eytan Levit, “We applaud Andrew Andres for his creativity and proactivity in collaborating with Mixtiles to do our part to lift the spirits of the pandemic’s indispensable everyday heroes.”